Hate throttling? Get fiber internet.
Does your internet seem to slow down at times, leading to buffering or frustratingly slow load times? This could be due to throttling, which is the intentional slowing down of internet speeds by internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile carriers. Throttling can occur when people consume large amounts of data (like streaming a movie or using multiple devices at once), particularly during peak usage hours. ISPs tend to do this to control or limit the amount of data that some can consume over a specific period or to manage network congestion.
Your internet could be slow for many reasons, not just throttling. If you’re using an old router, if you have a basic internet plan with low speeds, or if you’re using a device that’s too far from the router, you may experience lag, buffering wheels, frozen video chats and other annoying delays. These are problems that occur on your end, which you can fix by changing equipment or upgrading your plan. Throttling is a problem that occurs on the ISP’s end, particularly companies that use cable technology.
Not all ISPs employ throttling, especially fiber internet companies. They avoid the need to throttle due to their inherently fast speeds and large bandwidth capacities.
Why throttling occurs
Here are reasons why throttling occurs, particularly on cable networks.
Data usage limits
The data you use monthly includes everything you upload and download, like movies, video games, video chats and web browsing. If your internet plan comes with a data cap, you can only use that much data before you see overage charges, or a reduced connection speed caused by throttling. Many ISPs are moving away from data caps given the amount of content people currently consume. Still, even so-called unlimited plans can have hidden throttling policies.
During peak usage times when many people are accessing the internet simultaneously, like evenings, the network can become congested. To ensure a more stable service for all users, the ISP may throttle the connection speeds of certain activities. This is common with traditional cable networks, which are working with limited bandwidth due to older technology.
In some cases, ISPs might throttle specific types of internet traffic, such as video streaming or file-sharing services, to prioritize other types of traffic or to encourage users to subscribe to specific plans that offer better performance for those services.
How fiber-optic internet avoids throttling
Fiber internet technology is built with state-of-the-art technology that can handle large data loads even at peak times. Here’s a breakdown of why fiber internet is better equipped to handle modern-day connectivity without needing to resort to throttling.
Fiber-optic cables use light signals to transmit data. Unlike traditional copper cables, which transmit data using electrical signals, fiber internet has an unmatched advantage: the speed of light. Data can simply travel much faster.
One of the most significant advantages of fiber internet is its symmetrical upload and download speeds. With traditional cable connections, the upload speed is usually much slower than the download speed. Fiber internet offers the same speed for both uploading and downloading, ensuring smoother video calls, faster cloud backups, and improved overall performance.
Traditional cable networks throttle data to manage the load. Congestion occurs more frequently on cable networks because of their limited bandwidth. Fiber networks, on the other hand, are typically built with more capacity to handle increased traffic without compromising speed or quality. This reduced susceptibility to congestion means fiber internet users are less likely to experience throttling.
Fiber internet provides users with a dedicated connection, which means that the bandwidth you pay for is yours and is not shared with neighbors. Your internet experience remains consistent, regardless of the activities of others on the network.
Find your ISP’s network management policy
Some ISPs avoid practices like throttling because they believe in the importance of an open internet. Ziply Fiber, for instance, does not block content, throttle, cap data usage or prioritize paid content. They believe that everyone should have access to the internet without any restrictions (with legal limits, of course). All ISPs are required to disclose their network management practices, so if you’re wondering whether your ISP is engaging in throttling or some other restrictive behavior, you should be able to find its policy on its website.
How peering helps reduce the need for throttling
One another technique ISPs like Ziply Fiber use is peering agreements, which enables ISPs to exchange traffic directly with each other and other content providers (like streaming services and social media platforms). This mutual agreement facilitates the exchange of data to help improve the efficiency and speed of data transfer, and therefore reduces the need for practices like throttling.
Fiber internet is future-proof
By now it should be clear that the problem of throttling is more common on traditional cable networks, which use legacy technology that has smaller bandwidth, shared connections, slower upload speeds and are less equipped for large files.
Fiber internet’s incredible speed, symmetrical performance, resistance to congestion, and dedicated connection all contribute to an internet experience that is virtually throttling-free. As our reliance on the internet grows, having a connection that is not only fast but also consistent becomes paramount. Fiber optic internet's ability to transcend throttling ensures that you can enjoy all your online activities, from streaming and gaming to remote work and virtual meetings, without the frustrating interruptions caused by slower speeds.